It’s interesting to me that when most people hear we’re adopting a vegan diet, they readily accept the omission of meat, but are shocked by the omission of dairy products–milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. The dairy industry has done an amazing job convincing the public that milk “does a body good.” It’s hired celebrities to wear milk mustaches and encourage us to get our daily dose. The more research I read, however, the more fully convinced I am that cow’s milk is not only unnecessary for good health–it’s detrimental. Our family has eliminated dairy from our diet and has no plans to reincorporate it. Here’s just some of what I’ve learned:
- The supposed “benefits” of drinking milk–calcium and vitamin D–are a myth since most people drink pasteurized milk, which renders the calcium unusable to the body.
- Even unpasteurized milk’s calcium doesn’t benefit your body the way you may think. The milk’s excess protein causes calcium to be lost from bones. Why do you think Americans consume enormous amounts of dairy yet have one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world?
- Casein (dairy protein) has repeatedly been shown to accelerate the growth of tumors–it speeds up cancer.
- Dairy increases growth hormones in your blood, which can cause undesirable growth and increase your risk for cancer.
- Cow’s milk is the most mucus-forming food we can consume. Dairy products are implicated in almost all respiratory problems, from asthma to runny noses.
- Dairy consumption has been linked to type 1 diabetes in children.
- Milk allergies are a leading cause of ear infections in children.
- Dairy is high in dietary cholesterol and saturated fat, which lead to heart disease.
- Even organic “hormone-free” dairy products contain hormones, but perhaps not at the same levels. And studies have shown that organic products have similar levels of toxins as non-organic products.
- Dairy consumption may cause iron deficiency because it inhibits absorption.
- About 70% of the world population has trouble digesting dairy because after the age of 3 their bodies no longer produce the enzymes necessary for breaking it down (known as lactose intolerance).
- Dairy products have been linked to multiple sclerosis.
- Skim milk isn’t necessarily any better–it’s high in protein and low in B-vitamins, so its metabolism contributes to the build-up of homocysteine, a marker for heart disease.
- The casein in milk converts to casomorphin in our body, which makes us “addicted.” Casein is even more concentrated in cheese, which is why people say they crave it so much. Cravings go away in about 3 weeks.
On a personal note, I’ve seen nothing but good results from giving up dairy. Fewer migraines, better digestion, less sluggishness, and my eczema is much improved. My toddler hasn’t had any more constipation since we eliminated her dairy milk and yogurt.
For more information, check out some of my sources: this article on the dangers of dairy, read “The China Study,” read “Disease-Proof Your Child,” read “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition” or watch the “Forks Over Knives” documentary or read the companion book.